Overview

Legal studies is an interdisciplinary field that centers on how law shapes and is shaped by historical, socio-economic, and political contexts. Professionals work as consultants, teachers, court administrators, and compliance directors to ensure that institutions meet legal standards and uphold social and political equity. By viewing law from empirical and humanist perspectives, legal studies professionals work to ensure that future legal decisions and policies maintain address concerns in jurisprudence and theories of justice in an ethical manner.

Given the complexity of legal frameworks, many legal studies professionals choose to obtain a master’s degree. The advanced coursework opens the opportunity to refine their understanding of the historical and cultural dynamics of law and how they relate to democratic participation, privacy, autonomy, and individual liberty. In short, degree holders gain unique analytical abilities that allows them to understand and communicate the importance and lasting effects of legal interpretation and policy decisions. As consultants, teachers, or directors, graduates become responsible for protecting against actions that could have harmful ramifications.

A degree in legal studies is versatile, and many students go on to become consultants, teachers, court administrators, and compliance directors.

Yes, the rise of technology means that digital learning is now common. Most schools now offer online programs.

The requirements vary depending on the school, but most programs list specific requirements on department websites.

It will take around 2 years to complete a master’s degree online. Students can complete them faster, but it is more important for students to take their time with the material.

The stigma of online degrees is disappearing. Most employers and schools recognize and accept online degrees.

The field of legal studies provides an essential benefit to society. The responsibility to critique, analyze, and uphold laws ensures that communities progress toward more equitable policies that benefit all—especially the underserved. For those who choose to obtain a graduate degree, they can feel confident they are joining a network of other professionals who will lead the charge to such a future.

Best Online Master's in Legal Studies Programs

We took a deep-dive and analyzed every online Masters in Legal Studies program in the nation. Below are the results of our analysis and a list of the 15 best online Masters in Legal Studies programs.

Read about our methodology here.

Graduation Rate
82%
School Type
Private Non-profit
Tuition
$1,042 per credit
Best for Law Careers in Healthcare

Northeastern has an exceptional master's in legal studies program with a concentration in health law, giving students the foundation to lead successful careers after earning their degree. With courses in healthcare regulation and health law survey, graduates have the skills to advise hospitals, private physicians and other healthcare providers on licensing, malpractice litigation and more.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Law
Program Name: Master of Legal Studies
Available Concentrations: Health Law, Business Law, Human Resources Law

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's Degree
Credit Requirements: 48 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, Part-time
Program Length: Less than 2 years
Program start dates: September 5

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: August 15

Address:

360 Huntington Ave

Boston, MA 2115

617-373-2395

Graduation Rate
67%
School Type
Private Non-profit
Tuition
$1,215 per credit
Most Concentrations

Drexel University's online master's in legal studies program covers all the bases, offering more than eight concentrations for distance learners. Whether it's criminal law, healthcare compliance or another track, graduate students can choose to focus their degree on a specific interest that aligns with their career goals.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Thomas R. Kline School of Law
Program Name: Master of Legal Studies
Available Concentrations: Criminal Law, Cybersecurity and Information Privacy Compliance, Entrepreneurship and Law, Financial Regulatory Compliance, Health Care Compliance, Higher Education Compliance, Human Resources Compliance, NCAA Compliance and Sports Law
Accrediting Body: CCB

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution
Credit Requirements: 30 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, Part-time
Program start dates: January 7

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: December 10
GPA: 3.0

Address:

3141 Chestnut St

Philadelphia, PA 19104

215-895-6700

Graduation Rate
95%
School Type
Private Non-profit
Tuition
$2,134 per credit
Best Online Tools

Washington University in St. Louis specializes in distance education and includes the necessary tools to help students succeed in the online master's in legal studies program. With tools such as LexisNexis and Westlaw, graduate students have access to first-rate databases that make it easy to conduct research for class assignments.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Washington University School of Law
Program Name: Master of Legal Studies
Accrediting Body: ABA

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsCredit Requirements: 24 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 1 year
Program start dates: January 14; April 1; July 8

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: October 22 - December 10; January 21 - February 25; April 29 - June 3

Address:

1 Brookings Dr

St. Louis, MO 63130

314-281-5200

Graduation Rate
49%
School Type
Public
Tuition
$362 per credit
Best Hybrid Option

The University of Illinois at Springfield offers an entirely online master's in legal studies program but includes a hybrid option for students who want to receive in-person clinical experience. Graduate students who choose this option can apply what they learn in a professional setting, gaining invaluable skills and knowledge to use in their own careers after graduation.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Department of Legal Studies
Program Name: Master of Arts in Legal Studies

DeliveryFormat: Online, Hybrid

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's Degree
Credit Requirements: 40 credits

Program LengthProgram start dates: Fall: August 27; Spring: January 14

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: March 1; Spring: October 1
GPA: 3.0

Address:

1 William Maxwell Ln

Springfield, IL 62703

217-206-4847

Graduation Rate
67%
School Type
Public
Tuition
In-state: $504 per credit; Out-of-state: $884 per credit
Best for Careers in Tribal Law

Graduate students who want to advance their careers in Native American affairs should consider the University of Oklahoma's master's in legal studies program. It has a concentration in indigenous peoples law and covers everything from Native American natural resources to criminal jurisdiction in Indian country.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Law
Program Name: Master of Legal Studies
Available Concentrations: Oil, Gas, and Energy Law, Indigenous Peoples Law, Healthcare Law
Accrediting Body: ABA

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsCredit Requirements: 33 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, Part-time
Program Length: 15 months
Program start dates: August 20; January 14

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Rolling

Address:

660 Parrington Oval

Norman, OK 73019

405-325-4699

School Type
Private Non-profit
Tuition
$625 per credit
Best for Part-Time Students

Santa Barbara and Ventura Colleges of Law offers a master's in legal studies program with courses in the American legal system, litigation and more. Most graduate students in this program attend on a part-time basis but are still able to earn their degree in about 18 months.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master of Legal Studies
Available Concentrations: Frontiers in Law, Regulatory Compliance / Legal Risk Management

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 30 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Part-time
Program Length: 1.5 years
Program start dates: August 27; January 7; May 6

Admission RequirementsGPA: 2.3

Address:

4475 Market Street

Ventura, CA 93003

805-765-9300

Graduation Rate
64%
School Type
Private Non-profit
Tuition
$780 per credit
Most Individualized Experience

Graduate students in the master's in legal studies program at Webster University enjoy greater one-on-one time with professors thanks to small classes. With about 14 students to one class, professors are able to provide a better individualized experience and to help students as they complete the coursework.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Arts & Sciences
Program Name: Master of Arts in Legal Studies

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsCredit Requirements: 39 credits

Admission RequirementsGPA: 2.5

Address:

470 E Lockwood Ave

St. Louis, MO 63119

314-246-7800

Graduation Rate
63%
School Type
Public
Tuition
$1,091 per credit
Best for Sports Law Careers

Arizona State University offers a master's in legal studies program with a concentration in sports law and business, making it the ideal choice for athletic directors, agents and other sports professionals who want to transition to a law career. The curriculum covers everything from amateur and professional sports law to NCAA infractions, compliance and enforcement.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law
Program Name: Master of Legal Studies
Available Concentrations: Sports Law, Law & Sustainability, HR & Employment Law, Intellectual Property Law, Criminal Law, Corporate and Health Care Compliance

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's Degree
Credit Requirements: 30 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 1 year
Program start dates: January 7

Admission RequirementsGPA: 3.0

Address:

Tempe, AZ 85281

866-277-6589

Graduation Rate
84%
School Type
Private Non-profit
Tuition
$2,055 per credit
Best for Dispute Resolution

Graduate students who want to enhance their knowledge of U.S. law and specialize in dispute resolution should enroll in Pepperdine University's online Master of Legal Studies program. The dispute resolution concentration is a popular choice among students and provides the skills to solve disputes between parties thanks to courses in negotiation, mediation, and arbitration theory and practice.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Law
Program Name: Master of Legal Studies
Available Concentrations: Dispute Resolution
Accrediting Body: WASC Senior College and University Commission

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university
Credit Requirements: 32 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, Part-time
Program Length: 16-28 months
Program start dates: January, May, September

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: February 15 - March 15; June 7 - July 12; October 11 - November 8
Work Experience: Relevant professional and volunteer work

"During the two residency weekends in Malibu, our online students meet in person their professors, who are the same law school faculty members annually ranked among the top 10 law faculties in the country by The Princeton Review."
- Paul L. Caron, Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean, Professor of Law
Address:

24255 Pacific Coast Hwy

Malibu, CA 90263

310-506-4631

Graduation Rate
53%
School Type
Public
Tuition
In-state: $626 per credit; Out-of-state: $648 per credit
Best for Careers in Homeland Security

California University of Pennsylvania offers a master's in legal studies program with a concentration in homeland security. Graduate students in this program learn to assess and apply legal issues that are related to homeland security at private, state and federal levels.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Graduate Studies and Research
Program Name: Master of Science in Legal Studies
Available Concentrations: Criminal Justice, Homeland Security, Law and Public Policy

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's Degree
Credit Requirements: 15 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time
Program Length: 2 years

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Rolling
GPA: 3.0

Address:

250 University Ave

California, PA 15419

866-595-6348

School Type
Private
Tuition
$1,000 per credit
Most Flexible

Albany Law School works with students to create a flexible schedule, helping them to earn their degree while meeting their career and family commitments. Students in this program are introduced to law regarding cybersecurity and data privacy and can fit the coursework within their schedule.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master of Science in Legal Studies
Accrediting Body: Council of the Section of Legal Education, American Bar Association

DeliveryFormat: Online, On-Campus

Program requirementsCredit Requirements: 30 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 2 years
Program start dates: January 22

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: December 31

"Our focus is on advancing the career of working professionals, and we are proud to be recognized as one of the top in the nation by Online Masters. One of our primary goals is to build a program for working professionals that fits into their lives, and being recognized as the #1 most flexible program is a great recognition of the hard work put in by so many here at the law school!"
- Jason Fiske, Esq., LL.M., M.Ed., Assistant Dean for Program Development and Distance Learning
Address:

80 New Scotland Ave

Albany, NY 12208

518-445-2326

Graduation Rate
60%
School Type
Public
Tuition
$650 per credit
Best for Careers in Human Rights

Graduate students in the master's in legal studies program at the University of Arizona can concentrate on human rights law and learn the foundational skills to work with people in a variety of settings. The curriculum covers topics such as the American public and common law systems, giving students the core knowledge to work with individuals and groups who have been denied their basic human rights.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: James Rogers College of Law
Program Name: Master of Legal Studies
Available Concentrations: Compliance and Legal Risk Management, International Trade and Business Law, Intellectual Property, Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy, Human Rights, Environmental Law and Policy, Tax Law and Policy, Criminal Law and Policy, Family and Juvenile Law, Mining Law and Policy, Health Law

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Program requirementsCredit Requirements: 30 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, Part-time
Program Length: 1-4 years

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Spring: December 15; Summer: April 20; Fall: August 1

Contact:

Keith Swisher

Admissions Contact

Address:

Tucson, AZ 85721

520-621-3471

Graduation Rate
57%
School Type
Public
Tuition
$597 per credit
Best for Careers in Elder Law

West Virginia University's master's in legal studies program prepares graduates for careers handling legal matters related to seniors and the disabled. With a curriculum that covers both foundational and advanced topics, students learn the skills to deal with everything from estate planning to long-term care advisement.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master of Legal Studies
Available Concentrations: Healthcare, Justice Systems, Homeland Security
Accrediting Body: Higher Learning Commission

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's Degree
Credit Requirements: 30 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 18 months
Program start dates: January 7

Admission RequirementsGPA: 2.75

"The Master of Legal Studies degree is a great example of bringing educational opportunities to working professionals to advance their career goals in supporting institutions and individuals who interact with the legal system. This recognition is a testament to the accessibility and quality of the Master of Legal Studies program with small class sizes, flexible curriculum and emphasis in healthcare, justice systems and homeland security."
- Maja Holmes, Department Chair of Public Administration
Address:

Morgantown, WV 26506

800-253-2762

Graduation Rate
25%
School Type
Private Non-profit
Tuition
$710 per credit
Most Accelerated

Hodges University's online master's in legal studies program is delivered in an accelerated format for students who want to earn their degree in a little over a year. New courses begin every seven and a half weeks and include topics in mediation, governance and intellectual property.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Nichols School of Professional Studies
Program Name: Master of Science in Legal Studies

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsCredit Requirements: 30 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, Part-time
Program Length: 1 year
Program start dates: September 3

Admission RequirementsGPA: 3.0

Address:

2647 Professional Cir

Naples, FL 34119

833-824-1465

Graduation Rate
50%
School Type
Private Non-profit
Tuition
$650 per credit
Best Faculty

Regent University's faculty members rank highly every year for their academic and professional accomplishments. They are still active in their own legal professions while delivering the program coursework and sharing their expertise with students, developing them into successful graduates with the skills to excel in the American legal system.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Law
Program Name: Master of Arts in Law
Available Concentrations: General Legal Studies
Accrediting Body: ABA

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 30 credits

Program LengthProgram start dates: Session C: January 14; Session T: February 11; Session D: March 18; Session E: May 13; Session F: June 24

Address:

1000 Regent University Dr

Virginia Beach, VA 23464

877-267-5072